Policy could make health insurance mandatory

by Lesley Politi on October 29, 2008

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Policy could make health insurance mandatory

The General Administration of the University of North Carolina school system is considering making health insurance mandatory for future classes of students at Appalachian State University.

Patricia A. Geiger, director of Student Health Services at Appalachian said at the Student Government Association meeting Oct. 21 the change in policy could occur by fall 2009.

“This is something that is in the works now, and we will probably try and start this new policy in the near future, where students will have to get their own insurance before they can enter in an institution or a college,” Geiger said.

She said students will be responsible for obtaining their insurance individually.

To do this, students will have several options. 

Geiger said the university will provide information about local insurance companies that offer insurance to students.

“I will continue to look into this to see if the school will provide anything for the students,” she said.

The university currently has a voluntary service to provide insurance to students.

Geiger said about 160 students are using this service, which costs a premium of $1,000 and offers $100,000 in coverage.

The high expenses incurred when students go uninsured are one reason for the change in policy.

“Today in universities, it is a common thing for students to get sick and not to be able to return to school because of medical debt,” Geiger said.  “Medical debt is the number one cause of why people are going broke, and insurance can help with this.”

Students who have existing insurance plans will need to have their insurance approved.

Geiger said these students will be able to submit their insurance information to the school, so they will not be forced to obtain a new insurance plan.

There has been opposition to the new proposal.

David F. Mofford, SGA president said there has been some disagreement with the plan within SGA.

“People are echoing the sentiment that to control it all out of Chapel Hill makes it uncomfortable,” he said.

An additional concern is the added cost of insurance plans.

Mofford said Appalachian students already do not have guaranteed housing after freshman year, and another expense would be harmful.

“To say you have to pay an additional $900 a year, this is just more funds people have to spend,” he said.

Source: theapp.appstate.edu

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